Madrecuishe mezcal: What it is and which bottles to try

Madrecuishe mezcal: What it is and which bottles to try

Madrecuishe (also spelled “madrecuixe”) is a maguey is derived from the long, cylindrical Karwinskii agave. Amongst mezcal aficionados, it’s a highly sought after (and often pricey) spirit.

Madrecuishe Fact Sheet

  • Maturity time: 10-15 years
  • Area: Arid terrain, Oaxaca, Durango and Guerrero
  • Height: 4-6 feet
  • Elevation: 4,000-7,000 feet

The Madrecuishe Karwinskii Agave Varietal

Known scientifically as Agave karwinskii, this variant agave is cultivated in very dry and mountainous terrains of Mexico, primarily found in Oaxaca, Durango, and Guerrero. Unlike its more common cousin, the Espadín agave, Karwinskii agave requires a longer maturation period (between 10-15 years), making it a prized but difficult agave for mezcal production. This extended period allows the plant to develop a rich and intricate flavor profile, usually with strong mineral notes, a low viscosity mouthfeel, and a strong floral nose.

The Karwinskii agave used for Madrecuishe also produces much less finished product than Espadin, making the finished mezcal product even more rare (and expensive).

Karwinskii agave is typically cultivated at altitutudes ranging from 4,000 to 7,000 feet above sea level.

When comparing the Karwinskii agave that produces Madrecuishe mezcal to the Karwinskii agave that produces Cuishe mezcal, we first need to look to their relative sizes.

The Madrecuishe, or “mother cuishe”, is a larger varietal with typically broader leaves and a taller maximum height, and noted for it’s flowering bodies at the peak. These flowering bodies are unique to this agave as it is the only varietal that cross-polinates, creating new varieties of agave.

The Madrecuishe agave also has a relatively dense core with little water content (giving it its trademark mineral mouthfeel and flavor).

Best Madrecuishe Mezcal – Team Favorites

You should expect to spend at least $80 when looking for a good, drinkable Madrecuishe. Similar to other rarer magueys, you’ll truly get what you pay for.

Best Madrecuishe Mezcal

5 Sentidos – $120USD

5 Sentidos Bicuixe-Madrecuixe
5 Sentidos Bicuixe-Madrecuixe
Maguey Bicuishe, Madrecuishe
Type Blend
State Oaxaca

Solid Madrecuishe Bottles

Rey Campero – $100USD

Rey Campero Madre Cuishe
Rey Campero Madre Cuishe
Maguey Madrecuishe
Type Joven
State Oaxaca

Mezcal Vago – $100USD

Vago Madre Cuixe
Vago Madre Cuixe
Maguey Madrecuishe
Type Joven
State Oaxaca

Mal Bien – $100USD

Mal Bien Madrecuixe – Cortes
Mal Bien Madrecuixe – Cortes
Maguey Madrecuishe
Type Joven
State Oaxaca

Affordable, but good Madrecuishe bottles under $100

Bozal – $70USD

Bozal Madrecuishe
Bozal Madrecuishe
Maguey Madrecuishe
Type Joven
State Oaxaca

Yuu Baal – $50USD

Yuu Baal Madrecuixe
Yuu Baal Madrecuixe
Maguey Madrecuishe
Type Joven
State Oaxaca

Madrecuishe Tasting Notes

Seasoned mezcal drinkers often describe Madrecuishe it as particularly complex and nuanced. Unlike the masculine, deep flavors of Cuishe (also spelled “Cuixe”), Madrecuishe expresses very light, floral flavors and a watery mouthfeel with a hint of minerality. In a word, Madrecuishe can be described as “delicate.”

Along with Espadin, we would suggest Madrecuishe to be a good (albeit expensive) starter mezcal due to its very approachable and addictive flavor. It’s a mezcal you can drink all day.

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Jeff
Jeff
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I started truly getting into Mezcal after a visit to Oaxaca years ago. It's now turned into a passion and hobby.